Monday, October 27, 2014

The Day in the Life of a School Counselor

Jackie Kennedy is quoted as saying, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.” We are becoming the next school counselors to serve our community. Counselors know that nothing else matters and nothing is more important than supporting children of all ages through their educational experience.  In retrospect, we are in a sense helping raise them. Certainly, bungling it is not an option!

While walking through the halls of schools and sitting in school counselors’ offices, I observed and heard many things.  Tangible pieces of advice to study up on and what it takes to be a school counselor in this day and age. Additionally, my interview with a 20-year veteran of an elementary school has reinforced my belief that nothing is more important than helping a child feel good about themselves and good about the world around them. You have to care a great deal. No amount of rigorous coursework or exams can teach someone to care. If we care, then our students can hope anything is possible.

School counselors can instill hope in the students they reach.  The counselors we met with talked at length about the many challenges their children face.  All of the counselors expressed the importance of reaching out.  Providing trust and hope in the children we sit and talk with will have lasting value for them.

School counselors work best when collaborating with teachers, other educators inside and outside of their building and with parents. The professionals we met with described their role as a contact person to coordinate services for their students.  This link is vital to the profession and with the struggles that so many children face today, the support and work between the counselor and the community is important for counselors to accomplish.  

Finally, being present and involved with all of the students and teachers shows your leadership and commitment.  The high school counselors stressed that establishing relationships and connections to students is essential.  Just walking the halls, checking in with them at lunch or informally chatting with kids outside of your office should be a daily routine.  Showing enthusiasm with a fist bump, even when their hardships are noticeable, can be the one positive highlight in a student’s day.  Don’t bungle it!             

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